Description is one of those great things that can enhance a story and make it stand out. Doing it can be tricky, but there’s some good information out there. Check out the links below.
Denise Robbins: Description in Fiction. This is a great list of tips, many of them going further than typical ones. When she says “Be specific, but not too specific. Do not let the details you write limit the reader’s imagination.” the first thing I thought of was a writer I critiqued who tried to control the reader’s picture be being extremely specific. Particularly check out the last tip: When is description too much?
Robert Sawyer. The veteran science fiction writer uses the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture as example of how not to do description of a pivotal scene. Reading the book isn’t necessary; he provides all the context. Though I don’t agree with him on first Star Trek movie. Honestly, it was wasted opportunity!
TeacherWriter: Writing Effective Description is Not a Sin: The first thing I thought when I saw the title was exactly what this blog was about — how everyone tells us: “Description is boring. Use it sparingly!” TeacherWriter makes some great points worth reading.
Ms. Garrett Online: The name reminds me of Mrs. Garrett, the motherly caretaker on the Facts of Life, but this Ms. Garrett works for a library in Oregon, one of the places being hit by the Pacific Coast snowstorms. The site has an extensive list of descriptive words, including the five senses. Great for a bit of inspiration in a stuck moment. Be forewarned though — the site is an eye popping yellow.
Got any favorite links for description?